Funeral For Human Dignity
Date: Monday, July 13, 2015
Time: 5:30 PM
Location: Park and Welton, in front of the locked public bathroom.
In June of 2014, Denver’s City Council Government and Finance Committee allocated 1.8 million dollars to increase downtown policing. The new top activities to be criminalized were, according to Police Chief Robert White, panhandling, smoking weed, and public urination. Though the increased policing was said not to be intended to negatively affect people experiencing homelessness in Denver, it inevitably criminalized their basic human needs. One year later, the increase in police and subsequent ticketing has not improved the condition of people without housing, tourists, and downtown residents.
The criminalization of urinating in public has sadly overlooked the real problem: access to public restrooms. Public restrooms are currently locked and inaccessible. Although 2.13 million dollars were spent revitalizing parks, no public restrooms were built during that time and existing ones were not unlocked. A move to unlock public restrooms will not only save the city money in enforcement but also will diminish the underlying problem of public urination. More importantly, opening existing restrooms to the public will recognize the inherent human dignity of all people, which includes people who are homeless. In the current state, Denver residents are afforded no such thing.
Denver Homeless Out Loud finds it appalling and unconstitutional that the city of Denver has been unable to provide restrooms for its people and has instead criminalized a bodily act that a person cannot control. In order to speak out against this, Denver Homeless Out Loud is hosting a Funeral for Human Dignity in front of the locked public restroom on the corner of Welton and Park Street. The event, complete with liturgy, music, and formal funeral procession, will take place Monday July 13th, 2015 at 5:30 PM. All are welcome and encouraged to wear black. Denver Homeless Out Loud believes all people should have access to a restroom. No one should have to urinate in public because of an inaccessible bathroom. It is with great hope that the city will reconsider its choices in order to better reflect the needs of the community it serves. Perhaps next summer, rather than demanding human dignity, we will be celebrating it.